Australia Working Holiday Guide Part 1

Getting Your Visa Organised Before You Go

by stephmylifetravel

With gorgeous weather, picturesque beaches, unique wildlife, jaw-dropping natural beauty, and iconic cities Australia is an appealing place to escape the monotony of life back home. Each year thousands of young people travel to Australia’s sunny shores on the Australia working holiday visa, ready to explore the country while earning a bit of money – sometimes a lot of money!

Getting your Australia working holiday visa and setting up your new life here can be daunting when you’re planning it from thousands of miles away. I know how overwhelmed we were when we were planning our trip and how hard it was to find out all of the information we needed. Across this four-part series of posts, I’m going to give you every scrap of information you need for your working holiday in Australia. We are seeing once again, a huge surge in Irish citizens immigrating to Australia – a staggering 21,500 young Irish people were granted visas in 2023 so read on to find out exactly how to get your Australian Working Holiday visa!

 

Australia Working Holiday Visa 417 Details

The Australia Working Holiday visa is a subclass 417 visa – agencies and websites usually refer to it as a 417 visa. The 417 visa will give you the ability to work and live in Australia for one year with a maximum of six months with any one employer (details of this restriction here). You can study for up to 4 months and you can leave and re-enter the country as many times as you like during the year.

Once your 417 visa is granted, you have one year to enter the country. If you don’t enter before a year, your visa is cancelled.

Australia Working Holiday Visa 417 Restrictions

You can apply for a 417 visa under the following conditions:

  • You are outside the country when applying for your first 417.
  • You are between 18 – 30 years old.
  • If you are from Ireland, Denmark, Italy, France, Canada, or Britain, you can apply up until the age of 35.  One very important thing to note is that you must have your visa before your 36th birthday, but you can enter the country after you turn 36. This is what Tim did back when the previous restriction was 30 – he was 30 when we applied and 31 when we entered the country.
  • You don’t have any dependent children accompanying you to Australia at any time during your stay.
  • You have a passport from one of the following countries:
    • Belgium
    • Canada
    • Republic of Cyprus
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including
      British National Overseas passport holders)
    • Republic of Ireland
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Republic of Korea
    • Malta
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Sweden
    • Taiwan
    • United Kingdom.

Australia Working Holiday Visa Cost and Timelines

If you apply online directly through the Australian Governmentthere is a charge of AUD 635 / £328 / €383. Third-party agencies cost more, and fees will vary according to the agency (the application process is outlined below)

Global visa processing times (taken directly from the HomeAffairs.Gov.au site on March ’24)

  • 50 per cent of applications are processed in 1 day
  • 90 per cent of applications processed in 19 days

 

Before You Apply for your Australia Working Holiday Visa

Make sure you have all of the required documents and credit card ready. Don’t forget that insurance is a requirement for  many visas in Australia, which I believe everyone should have while travelling anyway. Take a look at Safety Wing and tick insurance off your list of things to do!  Here is the document checklist for the 417 visa from the Home Affairs website.

How to Apply for your Australia Working Holiday Visa

There are two ways to apply for your visa: directly through the Australian Immigration Bureau or through a third-party agency. Tim applied directly and I went through an agency (a silly mistake, wouldn’t recommend this option unless you reallllly hate paperwork and feel like you need extra support during the application and relocating process).

Australia immigration bureau:

The easiest and cheapest way to get your visa is to go directly to the source and apply online here. Tim’s application took about 30 minutes, and his visa was granted instantly. He was sent a PDF of his visa,, which he was able to show when we entered Australia.

This is the quickest and easiest way to get your 417 visa and will save you money on agency fees. You create an Immi account before you start the application so you can save your progress and return to the application if you find you don’t have everything you need.

Through an agency:

Applying through an agency will be more expensive and take longer than applying directly on the Immigration website. These agencies are targeted toward travellers who are overwhelmed with the process of getting their visas. They make it seem a lot more complicated than it is to convince you to apply through them and pay extra money. Try avoiding this option for the 417 visa as you will save money, and it is a relatively straightforward process.

I applied through an agency now closed, and the visa cost me £349 / €407 – a lot more than if I applied directly. Not knowing enough about the application process, I couldn’t find a direct link to the Australian immigration website, so I mistakenly assumed that you had to do it through an agency. It took nine days to get the visa granted (a lot longer than Tim’s took) and I was emailed the same PDF e-visa he received.

 

Getting your Australia Working Holiday Visa

Your Working Holiday Visa is electronic and links to your passport number and name as they appear on your passport. However, if you need to replace or renew your passport after your visa has been granted, you need to update the details in your IMMIAccount. You can update the details via the IMMIAccount, and they will change on your Australian visa. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to enter the country with your new passport. Here is the link with a step-by-step guide.

 

Entering Australia with your Working Holiday Visa

Entering the country on our 417 visas was super straightforward. At security, we showed our electronic visas that were emailed to us by the immigration department.

After passing through border control, a border control officer pulled us aside and brought us into a room. He was friendly and asked what we planned to work as, our plans in Australia, and how much money we had in our bank accounts. I gave him a dollar value, and he didn’t require any proof, but having a screenshot of your savings account might be helpful. Once we answered the questions we went on our way – it only took around 5 minutes.

 

Extending your Australia Working Holiday Visa

If you have entered the country on a 417, there are two ways you can extend your visa and stay longer in the country to work.

Regional Work

The Australian government allows working holiday visa holders to extend their visas for another year. Therefore, by completing 88 days of specified work in regional areas of Australia, you can get a 2nd year visa. Picking and harvesting fruit and vegetables are historically the most popular form of regional work, but there are many other options if this isn’t for you!  Work can be taxing, especially in the heat, and working conditions can sometimes be pretty poor. Despite this, most backpackers will agree that it’s worth it to be able to stay in Australia for another year.

Approved industries are as follows:

  • tourism and hospitality in Northern, remote, or very remote areas
  • plant and animal cultivation
  • fishing and pearling
  • tree farming and felling
  • mining
  • construction
  • bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire-affected areas
  • recovery work in natural disaster-affected areas

Above all, choose your regional work wisely and research the areas you want to be in. Make sure your 88 days are in the correct postcode, or unfortunately, they will not count as regional work. You can find all the postcodes for your regional work and the kind of work that is acceptable on this page.

Read more about the requirements for a second-year visa here.

Sponsorship

Additionally, if you work in a professional field in Australia, your company may sponsor you to stay in the country. This will last for the length of your employment. This TSS (Temporary Skills Shortage) Visa is only available to certain skilled occupations, and you must pass a health and character check to obtain one of these visas.

Read more about TSS visas and the requirements here.

That’s everything you need to know about applying for and extending your working holiday visa! Next, check out the rest of the series:

    • Part Two: Setting up your new life in Australia. From creating your bank account and choosing a phone plan to getting tax-ready. Plus anything else you need to work in Australia.
    • Part Three: Finding Accommodation in Australia. What hostels are like, house share or private rental? How the housing market differs from home and how to ensure that you get a place in such a competitive market.
    • Part Four: Finding a job in Australia. Lastly, whether you’re working in hospitality, doing work away, or pursuing a professional career. I’ll run through everything you need to find a job when you arrive in Australia. Plus, what you can expect to earn!

Thanks for reading!
Steph
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3 comments

Faizan Noor June 11, 2019 - 4:24 pm

I apply for work visa

Reply
Niger Sultana October 6, 2019 - 6:02 pm

I read your blog carefully. This information is really informative. I am a regular reader of your blog. In fact, I bookmarked your website

Reply
ernest April 5, 2024 - 3:40 pm

If I don’t enter Australia by the permitted date, what happens? Can I apply for another 417 visa again?

Reply

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